The Most Universally Hated Athletes of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo Need any more evidence as to why Ronaldo made this list? Every celebration for every goal, and there are a lot of them, is filled with a smug arrogance that can’t be replicated. Look at the point, the pose, the power. Ronaldo is undeniably an amazing talent and will certainly go down as […]
Need any more evidence as to why Ronaldo made this list? Every celebration for every goal, and there are a lot of them, is filled with a smug arrogance that can’t be replicated. Look at the point, the pose, the power. Ronaldo is undeniably an amazing talent and will certainly go down as one of the greatest ever to play the beautiful game.
But none of his talents, feats, and accomplishments can ever assuage the damage done to his reputation. Ronaldo is one of the biggest floppers in the sport and has an array of celebrations that manage to irk everyone in attendance, including his diehard supporters. Ronaldo has also come under scrutiny for tax evasion and multiple rape allegations.
Is it his supermodel wife? The six Super Bowl rings? What about his ability to wear almost every hairstyle well? Tom Brady has been ruling the AFC East, and most of the NFL at that, essentially since his second season when he became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. As anyone with a pulse knows, Brady didn’t stop winning, and that is reason No.1 why most people cannot stand him.
However, that winning has come with its fair share of scandals, including Deflategate, Spygate, the “deception” used to beat Baltimore in the playoffs, and the supposed extra protection and love Brady receives from the refs. Simply put, everyone outside of the six-state region known as New England can’t stand No. 12.
The greatest part about Kobe Bryant maybe that his middle name is “Bean.” Kobe has legions of fans but has collected an infinitely greater amount of haters. Some of the things Kobe did were commendable: like playing through injury and remaining with the Lakers through the thick and the thin.
But it was everything else that he did that made him so unliked, like being the most arrogant player in NBA history, averaging an astounding 19.5 field goals attempted per game, and the fact that he dubbed himself “The Black Mamba,” which violated the first rule of nicknames: one doesn’t self-appoint a nickname.
A-Rod may have an incredulous look about him here, but he knows exactly why he made this list. Aside from his smug personality (which so many of these athletes here have), A-Rod has been linked to numerous steroid scandals. In 2007, A-Rod categorically denied using steroids, but two years later admitted to using PEDs to cope with the “enormous amount of pressure” that fell on his shoulders.
In 2004, Rodriguez made the most anti-baseball play in Yankees history when he swatted the ball away from Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove during the ALCS. So if the lying about steroid use or his smug attitude weren’t enough, we’ll leave you with this final nugget regarding why A-Rod was such a deplorable figure.
The King (of flopping, arguably), LeBron James can play anywhere on the court. He’s an ageless wonder with one of the most unique skillets in NBA history. Now that we’ve got our praise out of the way, we can dissect the King’s weakness, and there are many to choose from. We’ll start with his whiney tendencies.
Maybe ‘Bron gets it from his affinity towards sipping wine after games, maybe he gets it from his nickname which has undoubtedly inflated his ego. Wherever it comes from, one thing is clear: LeBron is the league’s most incessant complainer. Next point: LeBron’s inability to come through in the clutch. Time and time again, LeBron disappeared in the clutch when it mattered most. The fourth quarter of a playoff game? James is nowhere to be found.
Until he ruined his marriage, Woods was a very likable figure on the PGA Tour. He was also seemingly unbeatable. Then it all came crashing down and he became one of America’s most despised athletes. In a series of shocking mistakes, Woods ruined his marriage, lost nearly all of his sponsors, had his health rapidly decline, and was arrested for DUI.
The mugshot was not a pretty site and marked rock bottom for Woods. Woods has since bounced back and even won the 2019 Masters in epic fashion, but proceeded to — and this isn’t necessarily his fault — annoy throngs of people when President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
What’s to like about Floyd Mayweather? It can’t be the way he boxes. His style is boring, predictable, and leaves his fans bored and out of the money they spent on purchasing the PPV fight. It can’t be his personality. He’s been accused of and convicted of numerous counts of domestic violence and battery. Then there are his two obnoxious nicknames.
Mayweather started off as “Pretty Boy” Floyd and evolved into “Money” Mayweather. As Pretty Boy, Floyd ran around the ring dodging the action. As Money, he did the same thing but while raking in boatloads of money for predictably bland “mega fights.”
Suarez doesn’t make this list because of crazy goal celebrations. That’s just about the only thing he doesn’t do that isn’t bothersome. Does he flop? More than a fish out of water. Does he bite? More than the crazy dog down the block. If you are wondering what we mean, let us explain. Suarez has been caught biting his opponents on numerous occasions.
The worst part about his unacceptable antics is he acts as if he got hurt in the process of biting someone, not the poor recipient of his chomp. And somehow, unbeknownst to us all, is how he’s gotten away with it all. They say time heals all wounds and absolves us of our sins. Well let’s ask those people he bit if time has removed the tooth-shaped scars Suarez left on them.
To this day, no one is quite sure what was going through Terrell Owens’ head throughout his Hall of Fame career. Owens had a special knack for irritating fans of football, the media, teammates, and opponents. Just like no cornerback was safe from getting clowned on by T.O., no one, in general, was safe from drawing his venomous ire.
Owens, at all times, was upset about one thing or another and was not one to bite his tongue. He also could hold a mean grudge and refused to attend his Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio, preferring to give a speech at his alma mater the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
Maybe the hate for Barry Bonds started when his head grew 150-200 percent over the course of a decade. If that’s the case, it was a slow-building disdain for the man who holds the single-season and all-time home run records. Or maybe it was Bonds’ 2007 perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying to the grand jury during the BALCO investigation.
Although the perjury charges were dropped, he was charged with obstruction of justice, which was overturned in 2015. Other people simply dislike the man for unethically breaking the home run record which belonged to the esteemed Hank Aaron, who smashed every one of his 755 home runs the right way.
He is hated because of his greatness and unsurpassed arrogance. Christian Laettner had an unprecedented streak at the NCAA Tournament and is considered one of the greatest college players ever. In 1990, Laettner hit a buzzer-beater to lift Duke over UConn to go to the Final Four; they would end up losing to UNLV in the championship game. The next season (1991), Laettner scored the game’s final two points over UNLV in the Final Four to lift them to the title game, which they won.
In 1992, Laettner hit the most famous shot in college basketball, a turn-around buzzer-beater to propel Duke over Kentucky, sending them back to the Final Four which turned into another championship for Duke. Besides being incredibly cocky and clutch, Laettner was a very dirty player.
Another juicer, Lance Armstrong was an American hero who (illegitimately) won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. After the seventh win, Armstrong started to field questions regarding how he could be so dominant, especially after surviving a bout with testicular cancer. Initially, Armstrong categorically denied doping, but the pressure surrounding him never ceased.
Then his old teammate Floyd Landis filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit, implicating Armstrong once again. In 2012, Armstrong was stripped of all his titles, and in 2013, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show to admit to his steroid use. What does all this mean? The American people and fans of cycling hate his guts for lying, cheating, and ruining an otherwise pristine sport.
Did winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy as a freshman inadvertently set up the man once known as Johnny Football for failure? Did winning the prestigious award so young and reaching the pinnacle of college football as a freshman give him unreasonable expectations and insurmountable pressure to overcome? Maybe. Whatever the reasons, Johnny Manziel went from electrifying quarterback to deplorable clown in the snap of a finger.
Drug and alcohol problems derailed his career. Arrogance and flaunting his wealth made him unlikeable. Poor play and a work ethic not to be found booted him from the league. Today “Money” Manziel is trying to find a permanent place in a football league that needs a problematic quarterback who claims to be reformed.
Being one of the dirtiest players in NBA history is never a good thing, unless you want to make the hit list of every player in the league and fan off the court. Bill Laimbeer ushered in the physical era of 80s basketball with a tactful approach that made him as hated as anyone on the court. As a member of the “Bad Boy” Pistons, Laimbeer, on a nightly basis, would flail, flop, and fight his way to victory.
From Charles Barkley to Larry Bird, Laimbeer would scrap with the biggest names. He was also a revolutionary when it came to flopping. But if the fighting and flopping weren’t enough, Laimbeer was also filthier than a pig rolling through their own excrement. Laimbeer elbowed people on boxouts, kicked during rebounds, and took any opportunity to hit his opponents where it hurt the most.
Making a disgrace of yourself and your country is never a good idea, but lying under oath is simply inexcusable. Marion Jones was an Olympic hero who triumphantly won three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. However, Jones, like many other high-profile athletes, was implicated in the BALCO scandal that rocked the sports world to its core.
In 2007, Jones admitted to lying under oath about her steroid use and was subsequently stripped of her medals. The disgruntled and disgraced outcast became a pariah and was sentenced to six months in jail for lying under oath. Today, she’s best remembered as a cheater and liar, not an Olympian.
Imagine being so desperate for attention and winning that you hire a henchman to attack your teammate with a lead pipe. The scenario sounds pretty outlandish but, unfortunately, actually took place on January 6th, 1994. Harding was clearly the inferior skater to her teammate Nancy Kerrigan, and she clearly had a bunch of issues swirling up in her head.
To exercise those demons, Harding hired a henchman to take out Kerrigan’s legs. That disgusting move resulted in the U.S. Figure Skating Association stripping her of her 1994 U.S. title. What it didn’t do was injure Kerrigan enough to prevent her from skating in the Olympics and winning the silver medal.
This one has to be pretty obvious. No, still haven’t guessed why Orenthal James Simpson, nicknamed “The Juice,” made this list? Well buckle up because we are going on a dark, sad, and brief ride through history. After the glory of his college days at the University of Southern California and his Pro Bowls with the Buffalo Bills, Simpson became heavily involved in acting.
The media attention he would receive for his film career, however, would pale in comparison to the attention he received for his role in the grizzly 1994 double murder of Nicole Simpson, his ex-wife, and her friend Ron Goldman. The trial took the world by storm and was one of the biggest events of the 1990s. In the end, Simpson was found not guilty of the murders.
Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace is one part basketball player, one part hired gun. He’s dirty, aggressive, and ruthless. When he’s on your team, those attributes can be considered an asset. When he’s against you, those traits are considered potentially very dangerous to your health. And when he wasn’t fighting other players, he was fighting spectators, at least back in 2004 at the notorious Malice at the Palace brawl in Detroit.
World Peace unleashed the chaos and entered the stands to fight fans after a fan poured beer on him while he was lying on the scorer’s table. Artest was given the longest suspension in NBA history — 86 games — and was, from that point on, deemed a loose cannon.
Most, if not all, of the hate for the Steelers longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stems from his two rape allegations. These allegations are, rightfully so, not taken lightly. Although Roethlisberger never went to jail for his actions (he settled out of court with the accusers), his reputation suffered mightily and he was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season.
Suffice it to say, Roethlisberger has garnered his fair share of enemies on those two deplorable events alone. Top it off with how annoying he can be to play against and you have one of the league’s most despised players.
From a baseball standpoint, Ty Cobb was as good as they come. When he retired in 1928, Cobb had set about 90 records, many of which stood decades and decades after he retired. While Cobb may have been a great ball player, he was a less than stellar human being. On the field, Cobb’s insatiable desire to win meant he was an unbearable clubhouse presence.
Rumors swirled whether Cobb added razors to his cleats to injure opponents standing in his way on the basepath. Cobb was also a notorious racist and general hater anyone different than himself, like Catholics and northerners. Only four baseball-related people attended his funeral. There was hardly any love lost for Cobb when he died.
The laziest, most apathetic player in NFL history somehow managed to swindle team after team out of millions of dollars. Jay Cutler is a bum, plain and simple. He wasn’t clutch, nor was he particularly good at being a quarterback. He took a lot of flack for leaving big games with injuries rather than fighting through them.
Then, in 2017, Cutler retired from football. Fans no longer needed to bear witness to his lethargic play. However, in a shocking turn of events, Cutler came out of retirement to sign a one-year deal with the Dolphins after their starter went down with injury. The only good that came of that was the Smoking Jay Cutler memes.
Look at the blonde mustache. This. This is why Brown made the list. It was a tough call to place him here because, for the majority of his career, Brown was considered a good teammate. Yes, he had some irritating antics, but so do most receivers, the diva position in the NFL. Yes, he kicked a punter in the head and has celebrated in some very suggestive ways. All of that was fun and games, though.
He was productive and unstoppable. Then came the unsettling golden ‘stache, the social media meltdowns, and the blatant disrespect of his teammates and the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. Almost overnight, Brown became an unbearable figure. After his bizarre behavior, in which Brown requested to be referred to as “Mr. Big Chest,” he was shipped to Oakland.
On the baseball diamond, former pitcher John Rocker didn’t do much. He compiled a 13-22 win-loss record and had a 3.42 ERA. He would hardly be remembered had he not been one of the most offensive people ever to grace this earth. Okay, that may be a stretch, but Rocker and his unfiltered mouth did manage to piss off so many people. The first egregious remarks to come out of his mouth was the verbal beatdown he administered to New York City and its residents.
But Rocker didn’t learn and continued to make disparaging and racist remarks, some of which earned him a multi-game suspension in the 2000 season. The list of offensive remarks he continued to utter is too long for this story, but we’ll leave you with one final parting gift, Rocker’s admission to steroid use. “Yeah, of course, I was [using steroids]. I mean who wasn’t?”
Killing dogs for sport will make you public enemy No.1 in many people’s eyes. Mike Vick was a fun quarterback with an electric arm and a set of legs that could outrun just about anyone in the NFL. Vick was making history and breaking many barriers, much to his credit. However, once 2007 rolled around, all of that changed.
Vick was implicated in a massive dogfighting scandal and accused of running a ring in his backyard. After admitting to his gruesome role in the operation, Vick received a 21-month prison sentence and was suspended from the league. After prison, he made a comeback but was never the same quarterback.
An unapologetic presence on the mound, Clemens had a temper that could combust at any given moment. In the 2000 World Series, Clemens threw a portion of a broken bat back at the hitter, Mike Piazza. Apparently, breaking a bat on a foul ball is a direct attack on the pitcher. When he wasn’t throwing broken bats at batters, he was beaning them with fastballs.
Clemens is currently 14th all-time with hit batsmen, which is curious considering how accurate he is. Clemens has also made plenty of controversial remarks and was heavily involved in the 2008 steroid scandal that swept baseball. Although he was found not guilty of lying before a Congressional Committee, Clemens has not been able to get into the Hall of Fame due to being linked with ‘roids.
The NHL’s unequivocal pretty boy, Sydney Crosby entered the league with a certain air about him, a special aura that hovered over the gifted scorer. His road to success was paved; all he had to do was show up. Crosby receives extra attention from the refs because, presumably, the zebras are instructed to keep the NHL’s golden boy protected and upright.
And unlike most NHL players, Crosby isn’t fond of sticking up for himself. While other players may scrap and battle, Crosby will slink away while his teammates absorb punches on his behalf. Crosby is a generational talent, no doubting that, but he needs to end his amorous relationship with the refs in order to gain the respect of the public.
There was no greater pest in the NBA than Danny Ainge, today known as Trader Danny. No one was safe from the dual-sport athlete with a mighty temper and passion for winning. Ainge was drafted and played for the Toronto Blue Jays out of Brigham Young University before opting to make basketball his career full time.
In the NBA, Ainge would scrap, elbow, fight, claw, and do anything else needed to win. He would go against big men like Tree Rollins, the greatest players in the game like Michael Jordan, and anyone else who dared to cross the scrappy BYU standout. As a General Manager, Ainge is just as ruthless.
Miller time was a fine thing to witness. Reggie Miller had one of the sweetest strokes in the league and was the prototype for the modern-day three-point juggernauts like Steph Curry and James Harden. While he may have had a sweet shot, Miller was also known to be an egregious flopper who barely missed out on an Oscar for all the on-court acting he did.
He also had a vicious leg kick that was unleashed on his signature shot. The kick was more accurate and deadly than anything Bruce Lee ever brought to the table; it was also highly controversial because many believed it was an offensive foul that prohibited defenders from playing sound defense. Either way, Miller’s game was accompanied by a ton of theatrics that made him very unbearable to watch.
“Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” That was a quote by Rafael Palmeiro back at a Congressional hearing back in 2005. A few months later, that same Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days after testing positive for steroids.
One of only six players to be a member of both the 500 home run club and the 3,000 hit club, Palmeiro was one of the league’s most dangerous hitters during his prime. However, his questionable reputation and failed drug test months after his testimony made him one of the most detested athletes in America.
In 2004, Todd Bertuzzi made one of the most tasteless, disheartening moves in hockey history when he blindsided Steve Moore with a punch to the side of the face after an on-ice skirmish. Bertuzzi was infuriated with a Steve Moore hit but didn’t decide to square up with him face to face. The ugly hit fractured vertebrae in Moore’s neck and ended his career.
For his role in the skirmish, Bertuzzi was handed a 17-month suspension. At the time, that was the fourth-longest suspension in NHL history. Bertuzzi eventually returned to the ice after the horrific incident and settled with Moore out of court for damages. Today, he’s one of the most hated hockey players in NHL history.